What to do After an Accident with a Car that is Parked Illegally

Car Accidents | August 21, 2020

In most cases, striking a parked car will almost always be the fault of the person driving. However, that is not the case if a vehicle is parked illegally. No one wants to get into a car accident, particularly one involving a car that is illegally parked. Not only is this incredibly frustrating, but these accidents would often be preventable had a person not made the choice to park their vehicle illegally. Here, our car accident attorneys in Sacramento want to discuss what you can do after an accident involving a vehicle you believe was illegally parked.

Stop and Assess the Situation

As with any accident, you have a legal duty to stop at the scene. Get out of your vehicle and determine if anybody is injured. If there are any injuries, you need to call 911. California law also states that if there appears to be any property damage exceeding $750 in value, you need to call the police.

Let the police come to the scene and gather as much information as they can to complete their accident report. If the vehicle that you struck was illegally parked, law enforcement officials will typically note this in the police report, and this information will be incredibly beneficial for your insurance claim.

If the collision damage was not enough to warrant calling the police, you still need to stop at the scene and leave your information. Do what you can to find the owner of the vehicle. If you are not able to do so within a reasonable amount of time, leave a note on their vehicle with your full name, phone number, and insurance information.

Take Photographs of Everything

If you are able to do so safely, and if you do not need to be treated for your injuries, you need to take photographs of everything. Use your smartphone or another camera to take photos of any damages to any vehicles, traffic conditions, weather conditions, any injuries, and more. It is incredibly important to take a photograph of how the vehicle was illegally parked, particularly before the driver of that vehicle can get there and move it.

Take note of any surveillance cameras you see around the scene of an accident after striking an illegally parked car, as any footage on these cameras could be used as evidence for your case.

Notify Your Insurance Carrier

You need to call your insurance carrier to report the accident as soon as possible. You do not have to go into significant detail when you first make your report, but you need to let them know that the accident occurred and give them as much information about the other vehicle as possible. Failing to report an accident to an insurance carrier within a reasonable amount of time could result in the carrier denying or delaying any insurance claim.

California Comparative Fault Laws

Even if the other vehicle was illegally parked, it could be the case that you could still have partial responsibility for the incident. However, the “pure comparative negligence” laws in California allow those who are partially at fault for an accident to recover compensation for their losses. However, the total amount of compensation awarded will be reduced based on the percentage of fault. For example, if you get into an accident with an illegally parked vehicle, the jury may award $10,000 in damages for your injuries. However, if the jury also determines that you were 20% responsible for the incident, you would receive $8,000 in total compensation.